One of the principles of tonal theory is that of harmonic syntax. This principle proposes a specific logic order of chords in any harmonic progression; this specific order is proper to tonal music, which happened in Europe from about the end of the 17th century until the beginning of the 20th century.
A common question is about the origin of such syntax in tonal harmony; the result of harmonic analysis applied to the appropriate repertoire provides sufficient information to build and develop an adequate concept of tonal harmonic syntax, from which the functional syntax tonic-predominant-dominant-tonic has been established.
This presentation has as a goal the exposing of the results of a theoretical and analytical work in a critical way, with the aim to obtain direct information on which to build an accurate concept of harmonic syntax of chords (stufen).
The repertoire chosen for this purpose is the four-part chorales by J. S. Bach, due to its importance in the teaching of harmony. To efficiently organise the syntactic information provided by the harmonic analysis, the Markov Chain was used. This mathematical model organises the information in such a way that allows making predictions based on the analysis’ results; the product is a list of events ordered in pairs that include the ‘present event’ and the ‘possible future event,’ with its corresponding number of occurrences along the entire harmonic progression.